HR Expert & Integrative Leadership Coach
Over 20 years in HR management and business partnering
Passionate about developing people strategies that wow employees and boost business results
Adept at guiding leaders in managing during rapid growth and change
Designs practical & flexible solutions that align with business objectives
Susan Nelson is the founder and Principal Consultant of The Pragmatic Life, a management consulting firm that advises organizations in the design and development of high-impact people strategies and programs, as well as provides leadership and individual career coaching. She is a pragmatic coach and advisor with over 20 years of experience guiding global, San Francisco Bay Area technology organizations and leaders in building programs that wow their employees and boost their business, particularly during times of rapid growth and change.
She has worked with a wide variety of tech companies, from start-ups to mid-sized, public companies such as C-Cube Microsystems, LSI Logic, Portal Software, Brocade, NetApp, NVIDIA, and Nimble Storage.
As a coach, she particularly enjoys helping HR Leaders revolutionize their role and Career Professional Moms win the work-life tug of war.
As a leadership advisor, she guides leaders and teams in designing and developing an awesome employee experience through people strategies and programs that span the employee lifecycle. Susan is able to quickly assess an organization’s most critical needs and will meet the business where they are. She works collaboratively with her clients, empowering them with the necessary data, insight and influence, as a trusted advisor, to make informed business decisions and develop lasting global and enterprise-wide solutions. She easily spans the entire leadership spectrum, building relationships and credibility quickly.
Susan holds her undergraduate degree in Business Administration from San Jose State University and her MBA from Santa Clara University. She is also a member of the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) and is certified as a Sr. Professional in HR (SPHR) and a SHRM Sr. Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).
Susan lives with her husband and two children in San Jose, CA and enjoys working up a sweat at OrangeTheory fitness, inventing new froyo creations, and aspires to take part in a flash mob pillow fight!
“Susan is able to apply her strong communication, organization and analytical skills to any project (or client) making her successful in driving for results.”
~ Colleen Blake, Sr. Director, Global People Operations, Brocade
Paul Whitney - VP of HR, Nimble Storage
“I worked with Susan at Nimble Storage where she owned a series of projects around culture, engagement and infrastructure. Susan is one of the most capable HR professionals I have ever had the pleasure to work with. She is really smart, super well organized, has great judgment and delivered high quality outputs on every project she owned. I would welcome the chance to work with Susan again at any time and highly recommend her to anyone looking to add high value consulting support. She is awesome!”
Jean Heller - Sr. OD Consultant, NetApp:
“I had the pleasure of working with Susan on a number of HR and OD initiatives for the Product Operations team at NetApp, including rollout of a formal talent review process and a culture change initiative. I found her to be a deeply skilled and versatile HR professional, with an extremely strong business/strategic mindset and very strong OD and Change Management skills. Susan's executive and leader level clients relied heavily on Susan for her deep insights about talent, her pragmatic approach to complex change work and her principled approach to doing the right thing for the business. Susan is extremely collaborative, engaging leaders at all levels as well as cross-functional HR partners. She is passionate about talent development, and helping her clients through complex changes. I look forward to working with Susan again on HR, OD or Change efforts and highly recommend her to others looking for outstanding support in the Human Capital space."
Colleen Blake - Sr. Director, Global People Operations, Brocade
“Susan is a valued member of the HR team and has been a great contributor to various projects inside and outside of her HR Business Partner role. Susan is able to apply her strong communication, organization and analytical skills to any project (or client group) making her successful in driving for results. It was a pleasure working with her on the Foundry Networks Integration where she wrangled in all the moving parts of our communications plan to ensure owners knew what they were responsible for, cross-collaboration was occurring, content creation was complete and communications were being delivered on time. Susan's can-do attitude makes it enjoyable to partner with her and I look forward to teaming up with Susan again on future opportunities."